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How to Use Tulsi, Its Health Benefits, and Importance in Hinduism

Tulsi is a very useful medicinal plant found in India

Tulsi is a very useful medicinal plant found in India

What is Tulsi?

Popularly known in the western world as Holy basil, the Latin name of tulsi is Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum. The tulsi plant is a heavily branched small shrub which is widely grown in India for medicinal as well as religious purposes.

The word "tulsi" means "the incomparable plant". The plant can grow up to a height of about 60 cm and has hairy stems with oval-shaped leaves of about 5 cm in length. There are two main varieties of the Holy basil, the one with the green leaves is called Rama or Shri tulsi and the one with the reddish leaves is called Krishna or Shyama tulsi.

Tulsi is used in many forms which includes in the form of a tulsi tea, juice, fresh leaves, and dried powdered form.

Health Benefits of Tulsi

Tulsi is widely used in Ayurveda for medicinal purposes. Eugenol, found in Ocimum sanctum, is believed to be the main constituent responsible for the medicinal properties of the Holy basil. The plant has also been found to have antimicrobial properties, thanks to the ursolic acid and carvacrol constituents found in it.

Along with antimicrobial properties, the phytochemicals present in tulsi offer antioxidant as well as immune-enhancing qualities. It also has adaptogenic properties, that is, it enhances the body's ability to adapt to stress.

Let's take a look at some of the medicinal uses of the Holy basil leaves.

Respiratory benefits of tulsi

For asthma and bronchitis

The leaves of the Tulsi are effective expectorants and promote the release of mucus in bronchitis and asthma, thus, facilitating breathing. A decoction made of tulsi leaves, honey and ginger is effective for asthma, bronchitis and influenza.

For cold and flu

Chewing the leaves of the Holy basil helps relieve symptoms of cold and flu.

For sore throat

Boil a few leaves of Tulsi in about half a liter of water. Drink this tulsi tea or use it as a gargle at least three times a day. You can also add cloves to this decoction for more benefits.

Relieves fever

The antimicrobial properties of the tulsi leaves make it an excellent treatment for fever. As we know, fever is not a disease by itself. In fact, it is caused by infections caused due to viruses, bacteria, fungus, protozoa or due to allergens.

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Tulsi is quite effective in bringing down temperature and can safely be used with children too. It also protects an individual from malarial and dengue fever, which are caused due to mosquito bites.

The leaves can be boiled in half a liter of water and mixed with honey and milk. Tulsi extract added to water can also be given every 2-3 hours for bringing down the fever.

Beneficial for the kidneys

Tulsi juice and honey taken regularly for 6 months may help in expelling a kidney stone that is smaller than 5mm through the urinary tract. Regular intake of tulsi leaves may also reduce uric acid levels and promote proper cleansing of the kidneys through urination.

Effective for skin disorders

The juice of the tulsi plant may help in the treatment of skin diseases such as ringworm and leucoderma.

Tulsi leaves can be applied as poultice on the infected area to cure skin diseases. You can also add a decoction of tulsi leaves to your bathwater to cure infections as well as prevent their occurrence.

It is also effective for insect as well as snake and scorpion bites. It can be taken internally as well as applied on the infected area. Take a teaspoon of the tulsi extract every 3 hours. Apply the extract on the affected area as and when required.

Cardiovascular benefits

It may reduce blood cholesterol levels and have benefits for the heart. Its antioxidant properties protect the heart from free radical damage. Regular intake of tulsi tea also reduces high blood pressure.

Beneficial for the nerves and brain

Tulsi acts a nerve tonic and improves brain functioning. It improves concentration and sharpens memory.

Oral and dental Benefits

The antibacterial properties of the Holy basil keep your mouth and teeth free from bacteria. Tulsi juice works as an excellent mouth freshener, prevents bad breath, and cures ulcers in the mouth.

It also prevents the occurrence of dental cavities, tartar and plaque. Tulsi is also beneficial for strengthening gums and preventing tooth decay.

Instead of chewing the leaves, use tulsi tea for promoting oral and dental health since the mercury in the leaves may damage your teeth. You can also use the dried and powdered leaves as toothpaste for curing dental and gum diseases such as pyorrhea.

Beneficial as an eye wash

Regular consumption of tulsi may protect your eyes from various diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. It also soothes the eyes and reduces strain caused due to constant computer use.

Soak the leaves of the Holy basil in a cup of water and let it stay overnight. Strain the water and use it as an eye wash. You can also dip cotton ball into this liquid and place it on your eyes. Blink a few times to get relief in eye strain and other eye diseases. You can also instill two drops of basil juice.

Good for headaches

Applying a poultice of pounded tulsi leaves on the forehead helps relieve headache caused due to heat, stress and eye strain. You can also drink tulsi tea to relieve migraine and other stress headaches.

Anti-ageing properties

Its antioxidant properties prevent the body from damages caused due to free radicals, thus, delaying the aging process and the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging.

More benefits of tulsi

Chemicals found in tulsi may decrease pain and inflammation. It may lower blood sugar in diabetics. Although more studies are needed, preliminary research has revealed that the antioxidant properties of tulsi seed oil may slow down the progression of certain types of cancer.

The Holy basil may be beneficial for the treatment of tuberculosis as well. Tulsi extracts may also help in weight loss because of its ability to reduce cortisol levels.

Other Uses of Tulsi

If you are in a country like India, you need to use something that keeps the mosquitoes away from you. Rub tulsi oil on the exposed areas of your body to keep mosquitoes and other insects away from you.

Beads made of this plant are considered to have medicinal as well as divine properties. It is believed that tulsi protects one from negative influences.

Tulsi vivah is a ceremonial marriage of the tulsi with Lord Vishnu in Hinduism

Tulsi vivah is a ceremonial marriage of the tulsi with Lord Vishnu in Hinduism

Tulsi in Hinduism

As mentioned above, the Holy basil possesses excellent medicinal properties. This is probably one of the main reasons why this plant is so revered in Hinduism. Hindus consider their house as incomplete if they don't have a tulsi plant within the place itself.

In Hindu mythology, tulsi is very dear to Lord Vishnu. On the 11th bright day of the month of Kartika (around mid-October) in the Hindu calendar, tulsi is ceremonially married to Lord Vishnu in what is called tulsi vivah. This symbolic marriage denotes the beginning of one of the most auspicious periods for marriage in Hindu culture.

It is usually the woman of the household who take care of the plant. They water it, light the diya (small earthen lamp), and worship the plant after taking a bath in the morning. It is considered to be auspicious to have the Holy basil as it is believed to promote longevity and happiness for the residents of the household.

Make Tulsi an Integral Part of Your Life

The tulsi plant can be used to cure most of your common diseases. It may also offer anti-aging benefits as well as be useful for diabetics and people with heart disorders. You can easily grow the Holy basil in a small pot. If it is not possible to grow the plant, keep a bottle of tulsi juice or oil or dried tulsi powder in your home for treating common illnesses such as cold and flu and insect bites.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 BetterAlive


BetterAlive (author) on July 15, 2018:

Hi Md Rabiul,

You can look for these seeds online or buy them at a store near you.

All the best!

BetterAlive (author) on September 06, 2017:

Hi ABCat92,

The best way to take tulsi is for sure fresh leaves. If it is anyway possible to have a plant in your home, please do go for it. You can easily add 5-6 leaves to your tea to get benefits (preferably black tea or make your own herbal tea).

Capsules are the easiest form to consume, but should be the least preferred. If you can't have fresh leaves, try buying dried tulsi powder and use it in your tea. Usually, 2 teaspoons are enough.

I hope that helps!

ABCat92 on September 06, 2017:

I just purchased Organic India brand of 180 capsules of Tulsi for $30.99 (which is pricey for my income). The label says the only other ingredient is the vegetable capsule. Each capsule contains 100mg each of Krishna Tulsi, Rama Tulsi, and Vana Tulsi so each pill contains 300mg of tulsi powder. It is NOT an extract. Everywhere I read says for best benefits to eat 300-600mg of EXTRACT a day, which this is not. This brand recommends to eat 3 pills a day (so 900mg of just Tulsi powder) which would last 2 months. Did I get the wrong product. I want to use it for stress and anxiety. I want the best option for a somewhat low price as I don't make a lot of money. I already opened this bottle so will use it for the next 2 months but is there a better option for future reference? An extract in pill form or perhaps bulk powder so I can just make tea out of it? Thank you in advanced.

BetterAlive (author) on July 30, 2017:

Hi Garima,

For fungal infection, it is advisable to make a paste of tulsi leaves and turmeric powder and apply it on the area. You can also add neem instead of turmeric. Apply it for at least 10 days and see if it helps.

All the best!

BetterAlive (author) on December 26, 2016:

Hi Very Confused!

If you chew tulsi for days on end, regularly for more than 2 weeks, it can damage your teeth. Otherwise, for a week, it is fine.

All the best!

Very confused on December 26, 2016:

One place I read Tulsi contains mercury if you chew the leaves and it will hurt your teeth, down a bit on same e mail sAys to chew it, just a bit confusing

BetterAlive (author) on November 23, 2016:

Hi Shristi,

It is true that plants and trees do absorb the pollutants around them, but to say that if you consume them they will harm you isn't true. What you must do though is to make sure that if you are eating the leaves, you wash them thoroughly before eating them.

All the best!

Shristi on November 23, 2016:

I agree with the medicinal properties of tulsi, but I have one question in mind. Is it safe to eat tulsi when there is so much pollution all around? Being in open, tulsi leaves might absorb the pollutants easily. Correct me, if I'm wrong.

BetterAlive (author) on November 07, 2016:

Hi Shiva,

If you are looking for a Ayurvedic remedy for her, it is advisable to consult a Ayurvedic practitioner near you, who could check the symptoms and advise on what to do. But you could try turmeric milk at night (if she can handle it), and also massage warm mustard oil on her chest, back, outside the nose and throat. It may help in releasing phlegm.

She is quite young, but if you can get her to take a little bit of steam with a pinch of salt added to the water, it will help her tremendously. But be very careful if you plan on doing this.

Also, it is a time of the year when most adults and children develop some kind of respiratory issues. So, it is likely that the symptoms will subside when the weather gets a little better.

Again, take special care to remove any allergens from the home. This can't be stressed enough. Dust and fibers from carpets and rugs and furry soft toys are often the major culprits. Do a check in your home and see if there is anything that could aggravate her symptoms and remove it.

All the best!

Shiva on November 07, 2016:

Hi, Thanks for your reply. Recently she is gasping for breath often. Doctor said it might be symptoms of asthma and gave medication. Is there any natural remedy for that?

BetterAlive (author) on November 07, 2016:

Hi Shiva,

There is no harm in giving Tulsi tea to your daughter twice a week. But try to stop after say 3 months or so. When she gets older, you can also incorporate things such as chyawanprash to build immunity.

Also, although there is not much we can do about the pollution around us, but try to do what you can to prevent exposure to dust.

All the best!

Shiva on November 06, 2016:

I am giving Tulsi-Omavalli tea to my four year old daughter weekly twice as she frequently gets cold and cough. Is it fine to continue regularly or should we stop after sometime?

BetterAlive (author) on October 20, 2016:

Hi Sujatha,

If you give tulsi for 1-2 weeks to a 4 year old, it is fine. But avoid giving it regularly.

All the best!

sujatha on October 19, 2016:

i used to give tulisi powder to 4years 6 months.can you say is it right or not

BetterAlive (author) on September 22, 2016:

Hi Priya,

Tulsi is a good option to take for colds and coughs.

You could also try out Chyawanprash since this provides your body with all the ingredients that you need to boost your immunity. You can read about it by clicking the link below:

Besides this, watch what you eat. Eat lots of fruits, drink lots of water, and avoid fried fast foods. Exercise to strengthen your immunity as well. Breath control or pranayama is a good option for this.

All the best!

BetterAlive (author) on September 22, 2016:

Hi Priya,

Tulsi is a good option to take for colds and coughs.

You could also try out Chyawanprash since this provides your body with all the ingredients that you need to boost your immunity. You can read about it by clicking the link below:

Besides this, watch what you eat. Eat lots of fruits, drink lots of water, and avoid fried fast foods. Exercise to strengthen your immunity as well. Breath control or pranayama is a good option for this.

All the best!

Priya on September 21, 2016:


My Immunity is very low due to which frequently i face problem of Cold and cough , eye watering , itching .. Jolly Tulsi 51 drops will be good option .. ?? if yes how long shall i continue ?? or any other alternative please suggest ..

BetterAlive (author) on August 21, 2016:

Hi Fathima,

Tulsi face pack is good for the skin, especially for acne prone skin. If your skin has marks, acne, pimples, blemishes, add tulsi paste or powder in your usual face packs.

It will make your skin clearer and give you a good complexion, but it doesn't make the skin fair.

Also, use any face pack maximum 2-3 times a week. Give a gap of 2 days.

All the best!

BetterAlive (author) on August 01, 2016:

Hi Tina,

Is there a reason you want to give your child tulsi tea?

Ideally, use it once or twice a week. If there is a specific problem that you are targeting, try it for a few days (max. 7 days) or stop as soon as the problem is gone.

If you are doing it for building immunity, there are other products also. You can use a combination. For example, you can give tulsi tea on Monday, Triphala on Tuesday, and so on.

All the best!

BetterAlive (author) on August 01, 2016:

Hi Sina,

Use about 8-10 leaves max to make the juice. Tulsi can be useful for your husband, but more than that Triphala would be helpful.

Please check this article and it will surely be helpful:

All the best!

Tina on July 31, 2016:

Can I give tulsi tea made from 10 tulsi leaves in a glass of water to my 10 year old son regularly.I am not too sure about it after reading all the articles.Please guide a proper way to use for children.or can I use it on alternative weeks say I stop tulsi water for a week..n then start next week..Please suggest can it be consumed regularly

sina on July 12, 2016:

my husbend has bloatingness prolem in stomach with gas and much qunity tulsi leaves i should give him in morning? plz anyone suggest me. m giving around 30 leaves juice....m i ryt?? waiting for response :(

soumen on July 08, 2016:

I would like to add Tulsi as an ingredient to a drinking water of pH8 & manufacture bottled water for public consumption, pls.offer your opinion.


soumen on July 08, 2016:

I want to use tulsi leaves in a water of pH8 & make commercial production for use as drinking water in bottled form.

Pls.suggest your opinion & thanks for the same

CHAKRAPANI M S on June 02, 2016:

Sir, I am planning to gift invitees in my son's marriage with Tulasi saplings. I feel it would be effective if I give a simple article on Tulasi. Could you kingly suggest an article.

BetterAlive (author) on May 13, 2016:

Hi Vipin,

Generally, tulsi should not be used with milk. If you find it difficult to take due to the taste, just mix a few drops of honey and consume it.

Juice and drops are generally the same thing. But please do check the label of the product you are using carefully. In some cases, the drops may be just for external use and not for consuming. But this is not usually the case.

All the best!

vipin on May 13, 2016:

can we take tulsi drops in simple milk.and is there any difference in tulsi drops and tulsi juice available in market.

BetterAlive (author) on May 12, 2016:

Hi Rahul,

Please look at the packaging of the product you are using. It will provide an idea of the dosage.

All the best!

Rahul Grover on May 11, 2016:

How much quantity take in tulsi ark at the time

BetterAlive (author) on April 27, 2016:

Hi Akshay,

If you plan on putting tulsi eye drops regularly, it is probably a good idea to consult a doctor first. If you are using it occasionally, it should be safe to use.

All the best!

akshay on April 27, 2016:

Is the mercury content of tulsi harmful to eye when applying

BetterAlive (author) on April 13, 2016:

Hi Ketan,

Ideally, don't take these tablets for a lifetime. If you want to take it as a help for some health problem, take it for 3 months and that's all. If you have a health problem that you want help with, best is to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner.

All the best!

Ketan Doshi on April 09, 2016:

I wanted to know whether I can take two Tulsi Ghana tablets daily for a life time for maintaining general health?

BetterAlive (author) on December 18, 2015:

Hi Alisha,

If you want to boil the leaves at night before going to bed so that they are ready in the morning for you to drink, it is perfectly fine.

All the best

Alisha on December 17, 2015:


I just want to know that due to lack of time in early morning, i boil water with 3-4 tulsi leaves,keep in flask and drink with honey in morning.just want to know that overnight kept tulsi water works or not?

BetterAlive (author) on July 14, 2015:

Hi Ha,

If you want to use something to boost the immune system of your children, use chyawanprash. You can read about it here:

But it seems your children are quite young. Avoid giving anything, whether tulsi or chyawanprash regularly to children aged below 5 years.

You can, however, give your child tulsi if he or she gets a cold or a flu for a few days. If possible, try making a tea by just boiling about 10-15 leaves of tulsi and giving it to your child during a flu. Add honey to make the taste slightly sweeter. If your child doesn't take it, give them about half a teaspoon of tusli powder once or twice a day.

All the best!

ha on July 14, 2015:

Thanks for the wonderful information.please advice on daiky usage of tulsi powder for much can i give my children aged 2 to 9 and can i give it in milk? Please advice as my kids have low immunity.

BetterAlive (author) on June 14, 2015:

Hi Kavis,

There is no problem in eating tulsi leaves and it doesn't matter whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

All the best!

kavis on June 09, 2015:

can non vegetrian eat tulsi leaves

BetterAlive (author) on March 10, 2015:

Hi Apna Bihar,

If your mother is using a medication for diabetes, it is always a better idea to consult your doctor first because tulsi also works in lowering blood sugar. The best way to use tulsi for diabetes is to use dried or fresh leaves and make a tea. Drink twice a day. This also helps with joint pain.

For joint pain, tulsi oil can be massaged into the painful joint twice a day. Tie a crepe bandage to keep the area warm and avoid pressure on the joint.

All the best!

BetterAlive (author) on February 13, 2015:

Hi Ketan,

Tulsi can be taken continuously by a healthy individual. It is quite beneficial. It doesn't seem to have side-effects. Do remember though that chewing on tulsi leaves can be harmful for the teeth, so it is not advisable.

Tulsi powder should be safe. You can make it at home too, just would need to be slightly careful about proper preservation. Of course, you can buy it from the market too.